Blog: Dealing with People you can't Stand

Sounds familiar, doesn’t it? What is your first reaction of your body language when you see someone who you associate this phrase with?

Do you recognize yourself folding your arms at some situations to create some distance?

It may sound weird at the beginning, especially if you are reading this in a public space, but please fold your arms. Comfortable, right?

Now fold your arms the other way around.  Similar to this feeling, you as a human being have the tendency to go back to your habits accordingly.

 It sounds easy if I would just tell you what to do with people who irritate or annoy you, but it is much harder to actually change your habits.

Humans tend to go into defense when they get the feeling that someone is attacking them. Luckily there are some tricks to make sure you are not the one making someone feel this way. Are you sometimes irritated by someone being late, guessing without a good reason? What do you ask if someone runs in late for a meeting or group work? The first thing that comes into your mind is probably: “Why are you late?” Although this phrase may sound innocent to you, and without judgement, you actually are judging this person. How would it make you feel when someone asks you this, compared to the question: “How come you are late?” Exactly, I invite you to tell your story. Asking why questions will always get you into trouble. Catching yourself asking why questions during the next two days is probably a good start already!

"Why are you late?" You are actually judging this person. 

Getting along with people often depends on managing your expectations. In this case not referring to getting along with friends, that would be easy. But think about colleagues, your mentor, or probably groupmates. Before you start your collaboration, what do you agree on? Your goal, your effort, and probably your priorities. Let’s say we agree on aiming for a high grade, with great efforts and really putting some time into it. This actually says nothing. For you it may be really clear what you define as a high grade, or great efforts. However, the goal to follow a course or actually graduate is different per person. Some may have specific learning objectives, while others aim at graduating cum laude. Don’t forget to specify this in an early stage, or you might be disappointed because of unverified expectations.  

This all sounds really logical. Then why didn’t you apply it yet?

And remember, habits are there to be changed!


Guild Leader Professional Development

Iris Huisman